March 28, 2003







In The Matter of:                                                                                          

            An Investigation of Unlawful Proliferation and Trafficking

in Prohibited Nuclear and Military Technology by             

President Jacques Chirac of France, and Other Governments,     

Corporations and Politicians.                                                           






BY FEDEX & FACSIMILIE (33-4-72-44-71-63 / 31-70-345-5896)


Secretary General Ronald K. Noble                              Director Jürgen Storbeck

INTERPOL                                                                 EUROPOL
General Secretariat                                                       Raamweg 47
200, quai Charles de Gaulle                                          The Hague
69006 Lyon                                                                 The Netherlands







            Judicial Watch, Inc. (hereinafter, “Judicial Watch”) is a non-profit, non-partisan, public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse.  Judicial Watch requests that your organizations coordinate the conduct of an immediate and thorough investigation of the unlawful proliferation of nuclear technology, the unlawful trafficking of arms and military technology, and the violation of United Nations (U.N.) trade sanctions imposed after the 1991 Gulf War, as well as additional U.N. sanctions relating to the so-called “oil-for-food” program, by French government officials, politicians and corporations.  In particular, we request an investigation and analysis, by means of forensic accounting, of financial contacts and dealings between Mr. Chirac’s “Rally for the Republic” (RPR) political party and government officials and/or corporations involved in the unlawful activity.

Based on our preliminary investigation, as well as recent press reports, there is sufficient evidence to implicate senior French political and governmental officials including, but not limited to, Mr. Jacques Chirac.  These unlawful activities involve private persons, corporations and government officials from: France, Iraq, the Peoples’


Republic of China, and Syria.  It is likely that several other parties and countries, unknown at this time, are also involved in the criminal conspiracy.




            Mr. Chirac has engaged in a decades-long illicit campaign to violate and subvert international law, European Union (E.U.) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conventions, as well as U.N. resolutions and sanctions.  According to recent press reports, as well as the 1991 book, The Death Lobby; How the West Armed Iraq, by Kenneth R. Timmerman, and the 1992 book, Notre Allie Saddam by French journalists Claude Angeli and Stephanie Mesnier, Mr. Chirac has been engaged in a nearly thirty (30) year conspiratorial relationship with the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein – trafficking in arms, military equipment and nuclear technology.  Over the last thirty years Mr. Chirac has facilitated, both in and out of government office, the sale and/or transfer to Iraq of:


. . . petrochemical plants, desalinization plants, gas liquefaction complexes, housing projects, telecommunication systems, broadcasting networks, fertilizer plants, defense electronics factories, car assembly plants, a new airport, a subway system, and a navy yard, not to mention Exocet, Milan, HOT, Magic, Martel and Armat missiles; Allouette III, Gazelle, and Super-Puma helicopters; AMX 30-GCT howitzers; Tiger-G radar, and a nuclear reactor capable of making the bomb.[1]

In return for supplying Saddam Hussein with arms and nuclear technology, Mr. Chirac and others have personally benefited through financial support for their political party(ies) and campaigns.[2]


            French corporate and governmental corruption was well documented in mid-March 2003, by New York Times columnist William Safire, whose work (cited at length below) details the unlawful sale and fraudulent trans-shipment of Chinese rocket fuel to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq via Syria.  Mr. Safire has published the contents of e-mails from a French firm that knowingly brokered and facilitated the criminal act.  Mr. Chirac, when confronted by the media concerning the details of the transaction, lied and claimed it had not occurred.


The actions detailed in this complaint are not merely technical arguments over controversial political policies or disputed trade agreements.  They are the actions of


outlaw politicians and government officials who have attempted to shield their unlawful actions through exploitation of national sovereignty claims for personal and professional profit.  Saddam Hussein, himself, illuminates the corruption of French politicians and businessmen in an interview for the book, Notre Allie Saddam.  Mr. Angeli and Ms. Mesnier interviewed Saddam Hussein concerning his support for Mr. Chirac and other French politicians and political parties.


Saddam Hussein replied (in part):


As for financiers, industrialists and above all those responsible for military industry, the question must be put to French politicians: Who did not benefit from these business contracts and relationships with Iraq? . . . With respect to the politicians, one need only refer back to the declarations of all the political parties of France, Right and Left. All were happy to brag about their friendship with Iraq and to refer to common interests. From Mr. Chirac [now the center-right president] to Mr. Chevenement [the socialist former defense minister] . . . politicians and economic leaders were in open competition to spend time with us and flatter us. We have now grasped the reality of the situation [of France's support for the 1991 Gulf War, a betrayal in Saddam's eyes]. If the trickery continues, we will be forced to unmask them, all of them, before the French public.[3]


Hussein visiting a French nuclear facility with Chirac (far right) (1975)

Photo Courtesy of The Weekly Standard


French industry and business has aggressively and consistently pursued business opportunities with Saddam Hussein’s Baathist Party-controlled industry and economy of Iraq, with the blessings and endorsement of the French government.  Specifically, Avions Marcel Dassault-Bréguet Aviation, Snecma Corporation, and the government-controlled export sales agency, Office Général de l’Air, sent marketing teams to Iraq beginning in March 1975.[4]  Additional French corporate contacts followed, such as Protec – who furnished millions of dollars' of equipment to six separate plants for making mustard gas and nerve agents, with a capacity of hundreds of tons of nerve agent per year.[5]  Aérospatiale, Matra and others joined in the deadly, politically-sponsored, business with Iraq.

In 1975, Mr. Chirac arranged for the sale of the Osirak nuclear reactors to Saddam Hussein, and the forging of Nuclear Cooperation Treaty.  Technical and scientific support for the reactors was included in the sale of the hardware and uranium. Mr. Chirac and his government readily agreed to the objectively racist and anti-Semitic “requirements” of the Iraqis that “all persons of the Jewish race or the Mosaic religion” be precluded from participating in the program either in Iraq or in France.[6]  Given traditional French anti-Semitism among the government elite, with the notable exception of Charles de Gaulle, this regretfully comes as no surprise


  During Hussein’s September 1975 visit to France, Mr. Chirac provided Hussein with a tour of the fast breeder reactor, nicknamed Rhapsodie, run by the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA).  Saddam was particularly intrigued by the fast breeder technology because it produces more nuclear fuel than it consumes. The process transforms uranium into plutonium.  The chief utility of the plutonium that is chemically extracted from the breeder process is the creation of nuclear weapons. [7]

The French claim they did not provide Hussein with a fast breeder reactor.  Reportedly, CEA’s international affairs director, Bernard Goldschmidt, even denies any recollection whatsoever of Saddam’s visit.  Nonetheless, the gas-graphite models the French did provide were designed to run on weapons-grade uranium.   French officials also provided Saddam with an extra one-year supply of reactor fuel.[8]

Israel launched a preemptive strike on Iraq’s fledgling nuclear facility in 1981, destroying the French supplied capability.  Undaunted and unrepentant, following the raid, France re-supplied Iraq with weapons grade uranium, at Saddam’s insistence, even


though a “safer,” commercial-use-only variant was available for peaceful use.[9]  Reportedly, many of the senior scientists that U.N. inspectors wish to interview in Iraq

received their initial training from the French scientists following the enactment of the cooperation treaty.[10]


Conventional arms, including Alouette helicopters, Panhard armored cars and F-1 Mirage fighter jets, have been sold to Iraq by France since 1972.[11]  Many of these sales were augmented by the former Soviet Union, to create what was deemed the fourth largest army in the world at the time of the 1991 Gulf War.  According to Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, an unidentified French company has been selling spare parts to Iraq for its fighter jets and military helicopters during the past several months.[12]


Following the 1991 Gulf War, France was among the first to re-approach Saddam’s government under the U.N.’s oil-for-food program.  French oil companies, already identified for their active part in political corruption by French investigators, made bold moves to develop profitable relationships with high ranking members of the Iraqi Baathist Party.  These moves could not have happened without the knowledge and active support of senior French politicians and their government organs.  Iraq’s U.N. sponsored flow of oil in exchange for food and medical supplies to benefit the Iraqi populace has been roundly criticized as a fraud.  Industry analysts contend that an enormous black market of Iraqi oil existed throughout the 1990s, and was the source of great wealth for Saddam, the Baath Party, and perhaps French “facilitators” who were involved in “running the blockade.”

On March 13, 2003 and March 20, 2003, New York Times columnist, William Safire, provided detailed information concerning French brokerage in the illicit transfer of the chemical hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene, known as “HTBP,” from a Chinese company through Syria to Iraq.  HTBP is designed to serve as a chemical base for rocket propellant, and its sale to Iraq requires explicit approval by the U.N. Sanctions Committee.

In reply to Mr. Chirac’s denials of French involvement in the China-Syria-Iraq HTBP smuggling operation (in an interview on the CBS news magazine, 60 Minutes), Mr Safire wrote the following:

Let me supply Mr. Chirac with some documentation that the Inspector Clouseau in his foreign ministry cannot find.


On Aug. 25, 2002, e-mail went from the director general of CIS Paris to Qilu Chemicals in China regarding a preliminary order: "We are about to have one of our affiliates open a L/C [Letter of Credit] for an initial order of 20,000 kg. of sealant type HTBP-III. . . . The drums should have a label mentioning the nature of the goods, same as your sample: `modified polybatadiene [sic] sealant type III,' it is not necessary that the label shows the name of your company."

Ten days later, on Sept. 4, this response came from Qilu: "Thank you for your order to our HTPB-III! We just have sent a 40-foot container to Tartous (Syria) last month. I am not sure whether the container is in your warehouse now." A month later, Qilu sought a "formal order."

A Times colleague in Paris visited CIS early last week. The director, Jean-Pierre Pertriaux, acknowledged the documents but said someone else had filled the order. I duly reported his denial.[13]

Mr. Safire’s revelations are devastating to Mr. Chirac’s categorical denials.  The quoted e-mails are a proverbial “smoking gun,” demonstrating French involvement in the scheme, and a willingness by Mr. Chirac to lie about it.  This behavior is consistent with a cover-up of illegal activities and is a logical continuation of the recent actions of France in the U.N. Security Council.  Mr. Chirac fears exposure of his illegal and unethical deals and has decided to embark on a campaign of lies, obstruction, obfuscation and denial.  Senior French political figures, many of whom are complicit in the corrupt dealings with the brutal dictator of Iraq for almost three decades, go along with Mr. Chirac in the hope of maintaining the status quo – retaining power and privilege – beyond the current crisis in Iraq.

This most recent development is completely consistent with Mr. Chirac’s well documented involvement as Mayor of Paris in illegal schemes concerning the selling of lucrative contracts by the town hall's building commissioners. Much of the work was for the construction or repairs of schools in the capital. Billions of francs were involved, investigators say. Tenders were "invited" to contribute to a slush fund, which was used to finance activities of Chirac’s RPR political party. Before his death in 1999, RPR official Jean-Claude Mery video-taped a series of potentially explosive allegations, wherein Mery claims he helped raise millions of dollars worth of party funds. He also says that Chirac



himself was present when the equivalent of $700,000 in cash was handed over to one of his aides.[14]

While a 12-member French judicial commission (whose membership was chosen by Mr. Chirac) declared him immune from prosecution until 2007 for his role in party-funding scandals during the 1990s, there is no constraint or impediment on your organizations opening an investigation of the matters presented herein.[15]  In fact, due to the limitations imposed on the conventional French legal system in this matter, it is strikingly clear that the burden for fact-finding, preservation of evidence and testimony, and coordinating a thorough investigation now rests with INTERPOL and EUROPOL.


Swift action on the part of your two agencies is required immediately.  The information provided in this complaint (as well as the referenced material) clearly identifies Mr. Chirac as engaging in a thirty year pattern and practice of unlawful proliferation of nuclear technology, the unlawful trafficking of arms and military technology, and the violation of U.N. trade sanctions imposed after the 1991 Gulf War, as well as additional U.N. sanctions relating to the so-called “oil-for-food” program.

At a minimum, this formal complaint is sufficient cause for each of your organizations to open an investigative file, and to coordinate with other national law enforcement agencies in order to develop additional information and investigative leads.

Judicial Watch stands ready to assist you.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.








Larry Klayman                                                 Thomas Fitton
Chairman and General Counsel                         President

[1] Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Death Lobby; How the West Armed Iraq. Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston. 1991), p. 25.

[2] Melana Zyla Vickers. “Does the Iraqi Dictator Have the Goods on French Politicians?” The Weekly Standard. March 10, 2003

[3] Vickers.

[4] Timmerman, p. 25.

[5] Gary Milhollin and Kelly Motz, “A Vile Business,” The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2003.

[6] Timmerman, p. 33.

[7] Timmerman, p. 28.

[8] Timmerman, p. 29-30.

[9] Flora Lewis. “Sequel To Hiroshima,” The New York Times. June 12, 1981.

[10] Joshua Glenn. “Chirac’s Other Iraq Policy,” The Boston Globe. March 2, 2003.

[11] Said K. Aburish. Saddam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge. (Bloomsbury: London. 2000), p. 140.

[12] Bill Gertz. “Iraq Strengthens Air Force with French Parts,” The Washington Times. March 7, 2003; Gertz. “Probe Sought of French Parts Sales,” The Washington Times. March 8, 2003.

[13] William Safire, “French Connection II,” The New York Times, March 20, 2003.

[14] Peter Humi, “Chirac Dogged By Corruption Scandal,” CNN, December 7, 2000.

[15] BBC News, “Legal Experts Boost Chirac Immunity,” December 12, 2002.